How to tell if kittens have been abandoned by their mother

Kittens, kittens and more kittens.

The Humane Society of South Mississippi has been inundated with fluffy felines in need of foster parents, Development Manager Katie King said.

Just Wednesday, HSSM took in 40 kittens in need of foster care. Then Thursday, five more came in, King said.

What’s going on? It’s the middle of kitten season, which spans late spring to early fall in South Mississippi.

Here’s what you can do to help the shelter and to help control the pet population in general:

1. Circle of flour

If you find a litter of kittens without their mother present, don’t assume they’re on their own, King said.

“Most people’s initial reaction is to pick them up and bring them to the shelter. However, what they should do is sprinkle a circle of flour around them, wait for two to three hours and then go back to see if they see paw prints in the flour. Most likely the mother will come back to care for her kittens, which gives them the best chance of survival.”

2. Quick fix

Fostering kittens is a short-term commitment. Foster parents temporarily care for kittens and cats until they are ready for adoption. Kittens go out to foster volunteers with their mothers, if possible, or in sets of two or three.

Also, HSSM doesn’t have the resources to feed nursing kittens around the clock, King said, and they need a foster home within 24 hours.

3. Donations needed

Immediate needs at the shelter include kitten formula, cat kennels and blankets.

4. Spay and neuter

“We’ve extended our spay special for female cats throughout the month of May,” King said. “That’s $10 to spay and $10 for a microchip.

“It is vitally important for people to spay and neuter their pets.”

For information on fostering a litter of kittens, contact HSSM’s Foster Department at 228-822-3828 or

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1